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William R. Moses
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Predictability is the key word here. This is a very standard movie-of-the-week involving an adoption between an upper-middle class couple and a down-on-their-luck couple, who want to give up their young toddler, Emily, because they can only barely afford to feed themselves. Ted Levine and Kathleen Wilhoite are the homeless couple, and being well into their thirties at least, the viewer gets the sense that their predicament is not the result of youthful inexperience but character issues. Ted Levine is simply fantastic, much too talented for this movie, to be blunt. He commands every scene he appears in with his rough, abrupt demeanor, often offending the prospective parents of his daughter. He is cavalier in the "sale" of his daughter, and yet it is hard to dislike him. His wife, Lily, played by Kathleen Wilhoite, is whipped-dog subdued, completely unassertive and willing to let her daughter be traded without a peep, although she is consumed by depression afterward. Both halves of this couple are the main reason to watch "Broken Promises". The story will not particularly surprise or enlighten, but their performances are magnetic.
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